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Public service announcements

Last edited: January 03, 2012

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PSAs are a form of “advertisement” for the campaign message, specially produced for the campaign and disseminated via radio and TV. PSAs can be especially useful in large-scale/mass public awareness or behaviour-change campaigns. Experienced media specialists need to be involved to design effective mass media announcements, since PSA production and broadcasting can be costly, and the design must be based on quality formative research on target audiences.

Example: UNIFEM and PAHO collaborated in 2003 on a PSA called ‘Violence Against Women: Not A Minute More’. The PSA was distributed in Spanish, English and Portuguese to more than 300 TV and cable stations in Latin America and the Caribbean. Watch the PSA here.

Case study: Breakthrough

This US and India-based human rights organisation launched its ‘Bell Bajao!/Ring the Bell’ campaign in 2008 to call on men and boys across India to take a stand against domestic violence (DV), by performing a simple bystander intervention – ringing the door bell when they witnessed DV taking place. The campaign’s integrated cultural, organizing and media strategy sought to make the issue part of mainstream conversation; increase knowledge about and change community attitudes towards DV and towards HIV-positive women; and alter individual behaviour. By end 2010, with support of the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, through their PSAs on television, radio and print, their online multimedia campaign, educational materials and travelling video van, over 130 million people had been reached. 

The Bell Bajao PSAs depict men and boys who hear men shouting, women crying and objects falling – indicating incidence of domestic violence. They find an excuse to interrupt the violence by ringing the doorbell and asking the abuser who appears in the doorway for a small, unrelated and unnecessary service. It is clear to the audience that the bell-ringer is just doing it as an ‘excuse’ to intervene, to halt the violence. See PSA “software engineer”. Mobile video vans broadcasting the campaign PSAs allowed youth advocates to engage directly with individuals and encourage community involvement and participation through games, puppetry, street theater and quizzes.

See the full Bell Bajao case study. 

Access the Bell Bajao Campaign.

See the Bell Bajao PSAs.


Other Ilustrative PSAs:

The Jagori “Staring Hurts” PSA against sexual harassment in India is part of its Safe Delhi Campaign.

Youth Voices on Ending Violence against Women produced by the Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women Campaign.